REVIEW: Beach Break Live 2012

We sent Ben Fowler to battle the monsoon at Beach Break. Here’s what he thought of the student gathering.

On the fateful morning of Thursday 14th June I took the treacherous road to the West for the now infamous student festival, Beach Break Live. Alongside a band of brothers, we paid the toll booth to cross into Wales and before we knew it we were parked up and boarding the 5 minute coach journey to get to the campsite. As a “fresher” to Beach Break Live (although in my third year), I’d heard good things and awaited what I hoped would be a graduation blow out to remember.

Did it disappoint? Yes and no. It was a mixed bag festival, with a considerable array of good points and bad points. Where should I start?

Ah yes, the weather. For those of you who like to keep track of all things sun and cloud related, you may have noticed that Beach Break Live was subject to what can only be described as an onslaught of rain and wind. Whilst some showers here and there rarely ruin a festival experience, what was effectively continuous rain and gales from Thursday through to Sunday morning certainly placed a dampener on the mood, with half the tents looking like they had been ravaged by wolves.

A regular site, courtesy of tornado-esque winds

This of course meant many of the extreme sporting attractions that Beach Break Live prides itself on were cancelled until sunny Sunday, and a trip to the beach was more like an invitation to engage in open warfare with Poseidon himself.

In terms of music, this year certainly had a certain DJ orientated feel to it, with electronic big names Chase & Status and DJ Fresh on the main stage. As a personal fan of this music I had no complaints, however for those a little more broad in taste the line-up certainly could have done with a little brushing up in other genres.

Performance wise, it was a mixed bag of lively performances from the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Danny Byrd and Nero to more mundane or even boring performances from the likes of Youngman or Chase & Status (who are masterful at hitting the play button on reliable crowd pleasers, but offer little originality in their set). Whilst I did not see them, word reached me quickly that Friendly Fires didn’t exactly blow the crowd away either.

Beach Break also conquered the art of unreliability by making a fairly meagre effort to inform general festival goers that Rusko, a pretty big DJ name, had pulled out, instead allowing many in the crowd such as myself to wait for half an hour until some kind gentlemen informed me I was in fact waiting on a lost cause.

Table Tennis warfare

It was of course not all gloom. The Action Aid tent provided hours of entertainment via Jenga, Connect 4, Foosball and Table Tennis to fill rather empty daytimes act-wise, and the £2 can stall in the campsite was a godsend when you inevitably ran out of your 24 can limit stock and sought to avoid the £3.30 pint prices (still competitive festival-wise). A valiant effort was made to display the England game (which they managed to pick up some of) despite the fact the satellite dish had blown down. Other sources of entertainment such as shisha lounges, toboggans and a snowboard simulator were also warmly welcomed to add some variety.

Overall, whilst Beach Break Live had its perks, I can’t help but feel that it was enjoyable simply because it was a festival. It lacked the edge and atmosphere that can be found elsewhere, and while the ticket price is competitive, there are a few more growing pains to fix before it’ll rival undoubtedly unique festivals such as Glastonbury and Bestival that I have previously experienced. Not bad Beach Break, but try harder next time.